How Youtube Mastheads can reinforce your media strategy | Articles

For Advertisers, it appears that YouTube has secured its place as a vital channel to support branding activities. Worldwide, the number of advertisers running video ads on YouTube has seen a growth of 40% year on year. With the top 100 YouTube Advertising increasing their total annual average spend by 60% each year.

These numbers are not all that surprising given YouTube’s scale. According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults (18 – 34 years old) than any of the existing US cable networks. And with a user base of over 1,3 billion people the potential reach is enormous.

Even in Belgium where TV is still the prominent form of media consumption 2,8 million people watch videos on YouTube every day. And this is just not the young audience, 60% of all viewers is older than 35.

When thinking about advertising on YouTube - we quickly look towards its trueview format. With this format advertisers are able to show the video ads as pre-roll in YouTube’s content leveraging the extended targeting options of the Google Display Network. However there are other one ways to advertise on the video hosting website. One of which being the rich-media YouTube Masthead.

YouTube Masthead Example


YouTube Mastheads

YouTube gives you the option to advertise on its homepage through mastheads for a full 24 hours. The goal here is to provide an advertiser with the highest reach and awareness on the YouTube Homepage, which gives massive exposure to your brand.

You can opt for 2 formats of the masthead unit:

  • Cross-screen Rich Media Masthead - custom masthead which has to be created in Doubleclick Studio
  • Cross-screen Universal Video Masthead - 'template' masthead which only requires you to upload video's to YouTube and adapt a given template

The custom option comes with standard and expandable options. Here full creative freedom is given on the canvas to display your brand message.

The site feels pretty comfortable giving advertisers this freedom because the YouTube visitor is looking to be entertained visually. Interactive rich media and social media links provide a great channel for tremendous user engagement.

The first expendable masthead from Volvo contained a Twitter feed for example. Harley Davidson's campaign on the other hand allowed users to choose a Harley (and Marisa Miller to boot) and send the whole as a postcard. More than 18.000 were sent in a day.

YouTube Masthead - Harley Davidson Campaign


The more templated option - the universal video masthead - provides a relatively easy to implement format which is a lot lighter on creative development. It utilises your own YouTube Channel and its videos to dynamically generate a masthead which can be featured on the Mobile and Desktop version of the site.

YouTube Universal Video Masthead

How to set-up Mastheads

YouTube Mastheads must be bought on reservation-basis. For this, you can contact your Google Account Manager to check available dates for the reservation and budget needed. Standard rates are €26.000 per day for the rich media masthead and €20.000 for the universal video template option. There are also additional fees if you want to have more than one creative in rotation.

Once the booking is made your Google AM will assign you a Masthead “Point of Contact”. This POC will be in contact with all parties (advertiser, client, creative) to provide info in technical specifications, timeline, delivery, etc and can give additional support. Every time Semetis has ran a masthead, this person has proven to be the perfect bridge between all parties ensuring everyone knows what to do. They will also provide you with reports and further support after the campaign has run.

Based on which type of masthead you have chosen (custom or template) a kick-off call is scheduled where you lay out creative approach you want to take. Your POC can than help the creative agency with ensuring the creative concept is viable for the masthead.

If you have selected the templated option the POC will mainly give an overview of the required assets to build the template. For this Google also has a preview tool where you can fill the template in to view how the finished product will look like on desktop and mobile (

Overall we must press that delivery deadlines for these mastheads are quite strict. Also only a few number of revisions are accepted so it is very important to liase well with the creative team and set your internal deadline so there is enough time to work on the revisions if needed.

Once these deadlines are met Google finalises the booking and sets up the masthead to run on the YouTube homepage on the selected dates.

How Effective are YouTube Mastheads?

After running with the format for a number of our clients at Semetis. We experience that with masthead you are able to reach around 1,5 million users in a single day. Furthermore they are not just touched on one device, over 80% is mobile, making it a multiple-device juggernaut. The audience is not only vast and engaged. Also, YouTube allows you to capture this audience as a remarketing list to use as a targeting option in AdWords and DBM. This allows you to integrate the format as a initial “big presence” in a more wholesome branding strategy.

Of course an investment of €20.000 will be a big part of the digital media investment for most advertisers. However compared to more traditional media options like classical homepage takeovers or TV advertisements we can make the case that mastheads are actually very competitively priced. Especially if you take into account the multi-device perspective on the potential daily reach. If we break it down to a CPM level this becomes even more apparent. For the reach you can expect at least around 7.000.000 impressions (a frequency of 4,5) resulting in an average CPM of around €3. This is a rate which comes a lot closer to pure programmatic options than any classical media option can provide.

We are not proposing however to cut out these more traditional media expenditure and only running on YouTube. Instead we recommend supplementing your TV ads with complimentary digital ones, creating one big picture that viewers can tie together. And here we have seen YouTube Mastheads to work as an effective engager with unmatched multi-device reach.

publication author hannes cludts
Hannes Cludts

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